APPARATUS FOR PACKING BOTTLES, JARS OR LIKE INTO CASES
United States Patent 3780492
This invention relates to apparatus for packing bottles, jars or like open-ended containers into a case by transferring said bottles or the like from a conveyor delivering the articles to a pick-up station to a packing case situated on a discharge conveyor at a loading station. The invention broadly comprises an arm pivotal through a full circle in two separate movements each of 180° whereby a bottle carrier head on each end of the arm may be stopped successively at said pick-up and loading stations to collect, transfer and deposit the bottles or the like carried on each head. Each bottle carrier head comprises a frame which is additionally movable in a vertical plane whereby bottles etc. carried thereon may be raised or lowered and whereby inflatible inserts mounted on the underside of each head may be inserted into and/or withdrawn from the open neck portion of bottles, jars or like articles. The inserts are inflated by air pressure after insertion in the neck portions of the bottles or the like whereby the walls of the inserts grip firmly the inside neck portions thus providing a carrying member for the bottles or the like. When the bottles or the like are lowered into a packing case at the loading station the inserts on the carrier head at that station are evacuated to release the bottles whilst the inserts on the carrier head on the other end of the pivotal arm, i.e. at the pick-up station, are inflated to grip the bottles.
ACI Operations Pty. Limited (Melbourne, Victoria, AU)
53/495, 53/539, 294/87.1, 294/98.1
B65B21/18; B65B21/00; (IPC1-7): B65B39/02
Field of Search:
Juhasz, Andrew R.
Bray W. D.
1. Apparatus for packing containers having openings therein into cases, comprising a horizontal arm pivoted centrally about a vertical shaft whereas to be capable of moving through an angle of at least 180°, whereby containers may be transferred from a pick-up station to a case loading station, a container carrier at each end of said arm, each said carrier comprising a plurality of inflatible inserts adapted to engage inside the opening of the containers, and means associated with each insert for inflating and deflating said insert in timed relationship with the operation of picking-up said containers from said pick-up station and depositing them at said case loading station, said insert being substantially balloon shaped and each having a reduced diameter neck portion and a lower enlarged diameter container-engaging portion wherein said container-engaging portion is of slightly smaller diameter at its widest point than the internal diameter of the opening of a container when the insert is deflated, each said insert being open at the top to communicate with an air supply for inflating and deflating said insert, wherein each said insert is flared outwardly at the top to provide a flange which is adapted to be engaged by a retaining ring whereby said insert is adapted to be held in air-tight engagement with a connector for the air supply.
2. Apparatus for packing containers having openings therein into cases, comprising conveyor means for delivering containers to a pick-up station and second conveyor means for disposing of loaded cases from a loading station, a container carrier arm pivotal about a vertical shaft through a full circle in two movements each of 180° whereby containers may be transferred from said pick-up station to said loading station; a container carrier head on each end of said carrier arm, each said head comrising a frame having a plurality of inflatible inserts mounted on the underside thereof and an air connection to each of said inserts whereby they may be inflated and evacuated to pick-up or deposit a container, said inflation and evacuation being controlled by valve means actuated in timed relationship with the carrier arm; each said carrier head frame being mounted on a vertically operable piston whereby said frame may be raised and lowered to deposit them in a case to be packed said loading station, each said insert being substantially balloon shaped and having a reduced diameter neck portion and a lower enlarged diameter container-engaging portion wherein said container-engaging portion is of slightly smaller diameter at its widest point then the internal diameter of the opening of a container when the insert is deflated, and mounting means for releasibly mounting said inflatible inserts on the underside of said frame, whereby differently sized inserts are utilized for correspondingly different sized containers.
3. An inflatable insert adapted to engage the inside neck portion of a container whereby the container may be picked-up from a pick-up station and transferred to a case loading station, said insert being substantially balloon shaped and having a reduced diameter neck portion and a lower enlarged diameter container-engaging portion wherein said container-engaging portion is sized to be of slightly smaller diameter at its widest point than the internal diameter of the neck of a container which is to be picked-up when said insert is deflated, said insert being open at the top and flared outwardly at the top to provide a flange whereby said insert may be engaged by a collar to sealingly attach said insert to a bottle carrier frame, said insert being inflatable whereby when inflated it firmly engages the inside neck portion of a container to provide a container carrying member, and when evacuated is sized to be slidingly inserted into or retracted from the inside neck portion of the container.
This invention relates to case packing apparatus and refers more particularly to apparatus for packing jars, bottles or like containers in cases or cartons.
Hitherto, it has been the usual practice to load bottles and jars or the like into cardboard cartons manually and it is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide apparatus which will automatically pack these articles into cartons. Reference to bottles in this specification is to be understood to include jars and other open top containers of similar kind.
According to one broad form of the invention an apparatus for packing bottles, into cases comprises pivotal arm means for transferring said bottles from a pick-up station to a case loading station said arm means having a carrier head at or near each end thereof, each said head having a plurality of inflatible inserts adapted to engage the inside neck portion of bottles and means associated with each insert for inflating and/or deflating it in timed relationship with the operation of picking-up said bottles from said pick-up station and depositing them at said case loading station.
The invention will be more readily understood from the following description of one embodiment which may be preferred and wherein reference is made to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a schematic plan view of packing apparatus according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is an end elevational view taken along line 2--2 of FIG. 1 and,
FIG. 3 is sectional elevation (enlarged) taken along line 3--3 of FIG. 2 and showing a typical inflatible insert according to the invention.
As illustrated in the drawings, an apparatus for packing bottles into cases, comprises an arm 10 pivotal about a vertical axis 11 through 360° in two movements each of 180°. Mounted on each end of the pivotal arm 10 is a carrier head 12 comprising a frame 13 having a plurality of inflatible inserts 14 mounted on the underside thereof and an air connection 15 to each of said inserts whereby they may be inflated or evacuated depending upon whether they are to pick-up or deposit a bottle 16. Each insert 14 is preferably made of rubber and is substantially the same or slightly smaller diameter than the internal diameter of the neck 17 or opening of the bottle 16 to be loaded. The inserts 14 are substantially balloon shaped, being open at the top 18 to communicate with the air supply. The top of each insert is flared outwardly to provide a collar or flange 19 which is engaged by a retaining ring 20 and held in sealing engagement with the end face 21 of an air connecting member 15 permitting the air passage to communicate with the interior of said insert 14. Specifically, each insert comprises a reduced diameter portion 18A contiguous with an enlarged diameter article engaging surface 22. All inserts 14 are of the same construction and dimension at the top thereof to permit interchangeable connection but the diameter of the article engaging surface 22 may be varied according to the size and type of article to be packed.
Each insert is coupled via its air connection 15 into a common air supply and a control valve (not shown) determines whether the inserts on each carrier head are to be inflated or deflated as will be hereinafter described.
The pivotal arm 10 is supported centrally on a vertical pillar 11 and as previously indicated is rotatable through a full circle in two movements each of 180°. The vertical pillar 11 is mounted between a pair of horizontal conveyors 23, 24 arranged in spaced parallel relationship, one of said conveyors 23 being a feed conveyor, delivering articles to a pick-up station A beneath one of the STOP positions of the pivotal arm 10 and the other being a despatch conveyor 24, taking loaded cases from a case filling station B beneath the other end of the pivotal arm 10. The carrier heads 13 on the ends of the arm 10 may be lowered to a pick-up or deposit position, lowering being effected by means of a vertical piston 25 in a cylinder 26 on each end of the arm 10, the carrier heads 13 being attached to the lower or free ends of the pistons 25. The pistons 25 and cylinders 26 are preferably actuated in unison so as to be raised and lowered together. The height of the pivotal arm 10 above the conveyors 23, 24 may be adjusted by raising or lowering the vertical pillar 11.
In operation, inserts 14, of a diameter approximating the diameter of the neck 17 of the bottles 16 to be packed are attached to the carrier head 13 at each end of the pivotal arm 10. The number of inserts is dependent upon the number of articles to be packed into a case 27 and may be up to about 24. Bottles are assembled on the feed or grouping conveyor 23 and are delivered by the conveyor in columns and rows to the pick-up station A. During this movement, the operator assembles a case 27 to be filled and places it on a frame 28 immediately beneath the carrier head 13 and above the discharge roll-conveyor 24. This frame 28 is mounted on the top end of a vertically operable piston 29 and is adapted to move through the discharge roll-conveyor 24 in response to actuation of a control switch.
The carrier heads 13 are lowered by their respective pistons 25 in response to the case being placed on the frame. The placing of the case on the frame trips a switch (not shown) which causes the pistons 25 to lower the carrier heads 13. At the bottom of the piston stroke, the inserts 14 above the pick-up station A are located within the necks 17 of the bottles 16 to be loaded. The operator then releases the case on the frame and begins to assemble the next case. At the same time a control valve is actuated casuing the inserts 14 in the bottles or the like at the pick-up station A to be inflated, whilst the inserts 14 on the other carrier head are deflated thereby releasing the bottles 16 which have now been deposited in the case 27. The case 27 on the frame 28 is then lowered through the discharge roll-conveyor depositing the case 27 on the roll-conveyor 24 and when the case has cleared, the frame returns to its position above the conveyor.
Simultaneously with the return of the frame 28, the carrier heads are raised, the one above the pick-up station A lifting bottles on the inserts 14, and when the carrier head pistons 25 are fully raised a switch is actuated causing the arm 10 to rotate through an angle of 180° thereby locating the bottles above the loading station B. The operator then places a case 27 to be filled on the frame 28 and this actuates the switch to lower the carrier heads as aforesaid. At the bottom of the piston stroke the inserts in the bottles (now in the case), are deflated whilst the inserts on the carrier head at the pick-up station A are simultaneously inflated to pick-up another set of articles.
A stop may be provided on the feed conveyor to arrest and locate bottles at the pick-up station. The pivoting speed of the arm may also be adjusted to exceed the speed of oncoming bottles so that there is no banking up of bottles to be loaded.